Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Middle Eastern Studies


Samira Haj

Subject Categories

Art Practice | Audio Arts and Acoustics | Critical and Cultural Studies | Intellectual History | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Near Eastern Languages and Societies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Social History | Social Influence and Political Communication


song, leftism, lebanese civil war, leftist intellectuals, PLO, leftist militant songs, political music


This essay looks at the emergence of a generation of leftist militant songwriters against the backdrop of a revolutionary moment that influenced political and cultural landscapes in Beirut during the 1970s. After the Arab military defeat against Israel in 1967, the conjuncture of the Lebanese and Palestinian revolutionary movements in Lebanon fostered a revolutionary moment that manifested itself on different levels, including art and cultural expression. I look at the development of leftist militant songs, a genre, attitude, and approach to song production and performance that came to be at the intersection of radical theatre, poetry, and music. Productions by leftist militant artists were spontaneous organic representations of the revolutionary discourse that influenced them as well as instrumental tools to reproduce radical ideas in mass culture. Following Raymond Williams’ approach, I provide ‘active readings’ of their productions, contextualizing them in the broader revolutionary discourse for self-redefinition. Through their texts, music, performance, and attitude, they dissented against dominant ideas and modes of cultural production in Lebanon, all the while projecting a new identity rooted in the plights of subaltern communities and their struggle to overcome their plights through revolutionary violence.